Brett McDougle is trying to do his part to turn the Owens Express men’s basketball team around this season.
The sophomore forward from Clay High School sees a team looking for direction.
“Last year’s team understood what it took to win, period,” McDougle said. “This year we don't really have a leader or anyone stepping up to fill that role. Until we all buy into the system and the idea of being a team we'll most likely continue to struggle.
“Floor maturity is a problem with us because our major issues right now are shot selection, turnovers, and tempo.”
McDougle began the off season with a lot of running which helped him get in great shape, while also, according to him, tremendously helping him on the court.
“I’ve gotten away from my running routing and need to re-establish it if I hope to get more minutes and contribute,” he said.
McDougle is on the short list of sophomore veterans on the roster this year and he is doing his best to lead the team in the right direction.
“I try to instill some maturity in some of these guys because it seems to be our most pressing issue,” he said. “The biggest thing you need to do at this level is check your ego at the door and realize it’s about everyone around you, not you.”
The Express sit at 6-8 this season and are off to one of their worst starts in the program’s history. McDougle has played in eight of those games and averaging 1.25 points/game and is the team’s third leading shot blocker with 0.375/game.
“Personally, this season is disappointing because the losing is tough and starting to get to me,” McDougle said. “Right now, I’m working on a lot of things I could do individually to get better and make the team better, like overall conditioning and shooting.”
McDougle points to the loss of assistant coach Marcus Evans as one of the toughest moments for him this season.
“The coaching staff, overall, is great and I’ve always had a great time playing and working hard for them,” he said. “This year was rough though with Coach Evans leaving because I was pretty close to him and had a lot of respect for what he was doing for the team.”
McDougle sees a bright spot out of it though.
“We’ve added another great coach in Gil Guerrero and, as a whole, hopefully we can right the ship and continue to get better every day,” he said.
Last year’s team may have gelled earlier on, more so than this year and McDougle thinks that may be a good thing heading in to the stretch run.
“I fail to recognize many differences (between last year and this year) off the court,” he said. “Both years I've been surrounded by great coaches and players.
“The team, last year, was closer earlier on though, but this year’s team is coming around at the right time and hopefully we can reproduce some of the success of last year’s squad.”
The bottom line is that McDougle knows all he can do is his part and work hard while doing that.
“I hope my role expands as the year goes on, but all I can do is go hard every day, work on my weak points, and hope I get some attention,” he said.